Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach

Where Is Lanikai Located

Lanikai is an alluring public access beach on the southeastern coast of Oahu. The name means “heavenly sea” which captures its photogenic quality. Conde Nast magazine voted it one of the best beaches in the world. It features calm waters which make it an ideal location to bring the kids without worrying about them being overpowered by the current. From the half-mile of fine sand, you can get a view of the islands braking up the miles of a hypnotic south Pacific seascape. In the winter, you may be lucky enough to observe the breaching of majestic humpback whales. This beach is also ideally situated for taking in an astonishing Hawaiian sunrise.

How To Get To Lanikai

You can save time to get to Lanikai by skipping the bus and using your car. From Waikiki, find your way to H-1 West towards Honolulu. Take exit 21B on your right to HI-61 North. After about 40 minutes this is going to turn into Kailua Rd, and when that ends, take a right onto S Kalaheo Ave. Now you take a quick right on to Kailua Rd only to almost immediately bear left back on to S Kalaheo, which you continue on until it shortly turns into Lihiwai Rd and then Kawailoa Rd. Next, take your last left onto Alala Rd, which turns in to Mokulua Dr. and brings you to your destination.

Best Places To Stay At

There are plenty of lodging options for you to choose from in Waikiki, including a Hilton and a Hyatt. Choices below the $200 mark include the ocean view Ala Moana Hotel (with its own nightclub) and Waikiki Grand Hotel (free Wi-Fi!). So now that you have all the information you need, the white sand awaits on the side of Oahu. Remember: Lanikai means heavenly, but you ought to see it for yourself to be sure.

More Things To Do At Lanikai

Another way to enjoy Lanikai beach is to view it from the water on a kayak. If you plan ahead and make a reservation, you and your party can get outfitted with everything you need to get floating, including snorkel gear. In the kayak, you can make it out for a closer look at the Mokulua islands, which are home to a state seabird sanctuary. Some species of seabirds make Hawaii their only nesting ground. You may be lucky enough to see a black-footed albatross, red-footed booby, or the great frigatebird with his bright red throat pouch.

If you do decide to dust off those snorkels, find the area of the beach between the access points at Mokumanu Drive and Kaiolena Drive. You should be able to see the reef from the shore. It goes out about 600 feet. Some colorful fish to look out for are the threadfin butterflyfish with the bright yellow tail, the convict tang with its black stripes reminiscent of classic prisoner uniform, or the yellow-eyed Hawaiian Gregory.


The residential area you find yourself in is the neighborhood of Lanikai where you are going to look for parking, as there is no designated public parking lot. Kawailoa Rd, Mokulua or one of its side streets are good places to look. Remember to be respectful of the local residents, as they deal with plenty of visitors. Also, be sure the place you find to park is legal, as fines can be steep. There aren’t any official signs for the beach, but you will notice the word “Lanikai” on a huge pillar. The beach access points are gained by walking down alleyways between the houses. Incidentally, Lanikai doesn’t have its own showers or bathrooms; you can use the ones less than a mile away at Kailua Beach Park, near the town of Kailua.

Why Lanikai Is Worth Visiting

The beach is right next to the Lanikai Pillbox Hike, should you wish to take a break from lounging and swimming to stretch your legs. The Kaiwa Ridge Trail, as it is also known, takes between an hour to an hour and a half as a roundtrip. You will discover concrete structures which were built by the military in 1943 to keep a watch on the waters. From the hike, you will be able to see a view of Lanikai and Kailua Beach in the foreground, and Kaneohe Bay and Makapu’u Lighthouse in the background. It’s your chance to take in the breathtaking windward coast from up high! The trail gets an intermediate difficulty rating, but you will still see families with children enjoying it.